Sunday, April 18, 2021

Brooks Sports Bras: Everything you need to know

Brooks recently launched an entirely new line of sports bras! And I am going to review many of them. I have another post called The Best Sports Bras for D-Cup runners, but many of those bras are no longer sold, as that post was written a few years ago.

Of all the running apparel brands (Saucony, ASICS, Nike, Tracksmith, New Balance, etc), Brooks is the only one to really focus on supporting women's breasts. As a D-cup runner, this is important to me because I cannot simply wear any sports bra that looks good and have it work. For me and women with larger breasts, sports bra support is as important as running shoe support. Inadequate or improper support is not only uncomfortable, but can cause other problems. For example, shoving your large breasts into an extra small bra to get maximum compression is not healthy for your breast tissue.

In the UK and Europe in general, there are many more options for runners with D-cup (or larger) breasts. When I attended the London Marathon expo, there were almost as many sports bra booths as running shoe booths. In the USA, you might find one or two sports bra booths, and only at the very large expos like NYC or Boston. A few European brands I like are Anita and ShockAbsorber. Brooks has really stepped up to address the needs of larger breasted runners in the USA, offering a variety of options.

If you go to the Brooks website, and go to "apparel" in the navigation, the very first item is bras. They are listed above all the other apparel items, which shows they are not an afterthought for this brand! It's also important to note that Brooks is a running company. They focus solely on products for runners, not for other sports. In this blog, I'll be focusing on their "Drive" and "Dare" sports bras. I love that all of these bras are sized by actual bra size instead of Small, Medium, and Large. 

The ideal sports bra is comfortable, wire-free, flattering (not bulky), adjustable, chafe-free (when using Body Glide or 2Toms), and supportive. Bonus points if it comes in a variety of attractive colors.  I will rank the features I just mentioned as excellent, good, average, or poor. 

The Dare Crossback Bra
The Brooks Dare Crossback Bra is one of the few racerback bras that comes in size C/D. According to Road Runner Sports, this bra offers maximum support for A-C cup sizes and medium-low support for D+ cup sizes. I found this description to be accurate. The bra is comfortable, but it's not as supportive as its "Scoopback" counterpart (reviewed below). I have the 32 C/D size, and it feels like a 32C, with the cups not being quite big enough. I'm not likely to wear this bra on its own without a tank top over it because it's a little small for me. You can see in the photo below that I'm popping out a bit! 

I wear this bra for easy runs because it's not as supportive as some of the other bras for long runs or speed work. I do love the material and the style, and it could be the ideal bra for someone with an A, B, or C cup. 

Comfort: Excellent
Wire-free: Yes
Flattering, not bulky: Excellent
Adjustable: Good. Adjustable back closure, but straps are not adjustable.
Chafe free: Good
Supportive: Average
Variety of Attractive Colors: Excellent
Would I buy more of these: No.

The Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra

The Dare Scoopback Bra
Of all the bras I am going to review, the Dare Scoopback is the most supportive. According to Road Runner Sports, it offers maximum support for C-DD+ cup sizes. I am a size 32D, and Brooks sells this bra in size 32 C/D. It fits me perfectly, offers plenty of support, and the material is smooth. I have run long runs up to 16 miles in this bra and it's worked well. This bra is very similar to the Dare Crossback in terms of fabric and style, but it fits me much better and feels like a true 32D. If you wear a C-cup, you might prefer the Crossback. If you wear a D cup, you will likely prefer the Scoopback. 

This bra uses molded cups to support the breasts as opposed to compression. Thus, there will be some bounce, but according to breast experts, you do not want to eliminate bounce, you want to control it and minimize it.

Comfort: Excellent
Wire-free: Yes
Flattering, not bulky: Good
Adjustable: Excellent, with adjustable hooks and straps
Chafe free: Good. A tiny bit of chafing on very sweaty long runs
Supportive: Excellent
Variety of Attractive Colors: Excellent. I have this bra in grey, blue, red, pink, and teal
Would I buy more of these? I already have 5 of them!

The Brooks Dare Scoopback Run Bra

The Drive Convertible Run Bra
This Brooks Convertible bra was newly launched this year. It can be worn as a racerback or a scoop back. Unlike the Crossback and the Scoopback bras, this bra does not have molded cups; it uses compression. There is no padding or shape to it.  The benefit here is that the bra is less bulky and feels more streamlined and fast. I also think it's more flattering than the Scoopback and Crossback for this reason.

I first tried this bra as a scoop back, but I found the clasp that connects the straps to be uncomfortable when used that way. Additionally, it did not fit me as well as a racerback. When I unclasped it and used it as a standard bra style, it was much more comfortable and the fit was better. I'm wearing the Convertible Run bra in the first photo (black bra) and also below.

Comfort: Excellent
Wire-free: Yes
Flattering, not bulky: Excellent
Adjustable: Excellent. You can adjust the back clasps and the straps.
Chafe free: Good. I'd prefer a smoother material for the bottom.
Supportive: Excellent
Variety of Attractive Colors: Poor. Hopefully they come out with more.
Would I buy more of these? Yes, if they come out with more colors!

The Brooks Drive Convertible Run Bra

The Drive Interlace Run Bra
The Brooks Drive Interlace Bra was released this year, just like the Convertible Bra. Similar to the Convertible Bra, this bra does not have molded cups; it uses compression for support. That said, the Drive Interlace bra doesn't compress them as much as the Convertible bra, and gives the girls more breathing room. The notable thing about this bra is that it is low cut, which is great for breathability, but not so much for modesty. It has a fun strappy back and you can adjust both the straps and the closure to get a perfect fit. 

I personally did not find this bra to be as supportive as the Dare Scoopback or Convertible, which goes along with the Road Runner Sports rating: Maximum support for A-C cups, medium to low support for  D-DD+ cups. That said, it is definitely supportive enough for running and more so than the Scoopback. This probably will not be a speed work bra, but I think the breathability will be great for summer running.

Comfort: Good
Wire-free: Yes
Flattering, not bulky: Good
Adjustable: Excellent. You can adjust the back clasps and the strap length.
Chafe free: Good
Supportive: Good
Variety of Attractive Colors: Poor. I had to go with basic navy blue.
Would I buy more of these? Only if they came out with a color that I really wanted.

The Brooks Drive Interlace Run Bra

Brooks Interlace Run Bra, back view

The Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra
The Brooks Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra has the look of a crop top, which is very much in style at the moment. I was so excited to try this bra that I wore it on the first day it was warm enough to wear a sports bra only this spring. As the name states, it has three pockets, with one for the cell phone in the back. There are also side pockets that can store gels, cash, etc. Although this is a nice-to-have feature, it's not important to me. Almost all of my shorts have pockets and the last thing I need is something weighing me down up top! That said, I know that sports bras are a popular storage spot for other runners so I think this bra will be hugely successful. 

As with the other bras, I have the size 32C/D. The fit is pretty good. It comes with molded cups that you can remove. I removed the cups and immediately put them back in. Without the cups there was not enough coverage of the nipples and the bra was way too revealing. I was not expecting this bra to be as supportive as it was. I found it to be more supportive than the Dare Crossback, and I barely noticed I was even wearing it while running. Because it's high cut, it's not good for ventilation, but that's true of any "crop top" design. 

Comfort: Good
Wire-free: Yes
Flattering, not bulky: Excellent
Adjustable: Poor. You cannot adjust this bra.
Chafe free: Good
Supportive: Good
Variety of Attractive Colors: Good. They don't have a ton of colors, but I like the ones they do have.
Would I buy more of these? Yes. 

The Brooks Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra

I really like all of these bras. More often than not, I am disappointed when I try a new sports bra. I'm very picky, so it says a lot that one company can have such a variety of styles that fit me and support me. The winner in the group is the Dare Scoopback bra, which is the most supportive, but the trade off is that it's not quite as flattering as the Drive 3 pocket or the Drive Convertible. The Drive Convertible would be #2 on my list. Because it's a new bra, I haven't tried it out on a variety of runs yet, so it's possible that I might end up liking the Convertible just as much as the Scoopback. 

The Drive Convertible and the Dare Scoopback are the only ones on this list that Road Runner sports says offer maximum support for D-DD+ cups. Brooks also has other bras that I did not review that are supportive for women with larger breasts such as Dare Racerback and the Dare Zip Run. The one with the zipper looks like it would be uncomfortable, and the Dare Racerback doesn't look as flattering as the Scoopback. The Dare Racerback is also not reviewed as highly as the Scoopback on the Brooks website. 

I hope you found these reviews helpful! Road Runner Sports sent me both Dare bras and the Interlace Bra as part of their ambassador program, and I purchased the Convertible and 3 Pocket Bra myself.


  1. Meanwhile, me and my newly minted A cups (I lost a size post breastfeeding!) are buying 3-for-$20 packs at Costco, ha! Gone are the days when I had to worry about support (but I feel for you - this last year when I was a C or D was a tough one. So difficult to get the fit and support right!)

    1. I am so jealous! Oh to be able to wear whatever sports bra I want!